Andropogon sorghum Brot.; Andropogon bicolor Roxb.; Holcus saccharatus; Holcus sorghum L.; Sorghum saccharatum (L.) Moench; Sorghum vulgare Pers.
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.
A vessel was sitting there full of full of sour wine. Therefore they put a spongeful of the sour wine upon a hyssop [stalk] and brought it to his mouth.
While I suspect the odds are with Zohary, who identifies this biblical quote with Syrian hyssop (Origanum syriacum), I find it easier to visualize bunches of sorghum, much as mother used as dry floral arrangements in rural Alabama. That is, back when poor white southerners used sorghum syrup on their corn cakes and one uncle who grew the sorghum still had oxen. Yes, I can see evil guards mockingly offering a thirsty prisoner a vinegar-soaked head of sorghum. I am not the only one who offers this alternative for some of the hyssop passages in the Bible. Even Zohary admits that sorghum is better suited than common millet to the Israeli climate, thriving both in the lowlands and uplands as a very productive summer crop, even without irrigation. Zohary asserts that the species is known to have moved from East Africa via southwest Asia to India, archaeologically confirmed at circa 2000 b.c. Little will readers suspect, but sorghum is usually what was intended when corn was mentioned in the Bible (there was no corn sensu Zea mays in the old world before Columbus).
Common Names (Broomcorn):
Ägyptische Zeiskorn (Ger.; EFS); Akoko (Ga; KAB); Alboro'o (Sal.; AVP); Alcandia (Sp.; KAB); Amabele (Zulu; KAB); Ampemby (Hova; KAB); Awi (Twi; KAB); Bajrajhopanwa (Nwp.; Oudh KAB); Bakaka (Sakalave; KAB); Balai (Fr.; KAB); Balais de Jonc (Fr.; AVP); Bassiqui (Gambia; KAB); Batad (Vis.; KAB); Blé de Guinée (Fr.; AVP); Bondajanu (Tel.; KAB); Broom Corn (Eng.; DEP; EFS); Caña Dulce (Mex.; AVP); Challu (Peru; AVP); Chari (Pun.; KAB); Chavela (Ker.; Mal.; Mar.; DEP; KAB; SKJ); Chinese Sugarcane (Eng.; DEP); Cholam (Tam.; DEP; KAB; SKJ); Cholum (Sri.; KAB); Chotri Junri (Pun.; DEP); Dari (Tur.; EFS); Dari Seed (Malta; KAB); Dawa (Sudan; AVP); Deodhan (Bom.; Hindu; DEP; EFS); Devatadhanyamu (Tel.; DEP); Dhura (Arab.; DEP); Dhutar (Baghwana; KAB); Dirghamala (Sanskrit; SKJ); Djagung Roté (Malaya; EFS); Dura (It.; AVP); Durra (Eng.; Arab.; Egypt; Ven.; AVP; DEP; EFS); Durrha (Ger.; EFS); Egyptian Millet (Eng.; EFS); Escoba (Peru; EGG); Escoba Millo (Ven.; AVP); Fo (Ewe; Krepi; KAB); Ganggai (Mun.; KAB); Gao Liang (Pin.; DAA); Grand Millet (Fr.; EFS); Great Millet (Eng.; DEP; EFS); Guinea Corn (Eng.; DEP; EFS); Hirse (Ger.; AVP); Ikshupatraka (Sanskrit; KAB); Indian Millet (Eng.; DEP); Janera (Hindi; KAB); Jaoriturkimani (Afg.; KAB); Jaundri (Bom.; KAB); Jerusalem Corn (Eng.; EFS); Joar (Hindi; Kum.; DEP); Jolah (Kan.; Mysore; KAB; SKJ); Jondla (Dec.; DEP; KAB); Jovaree (India; EFS); Jowari (Las Bela; KAB); Juar (Kon.; KAB); Junali (Bhabar; Kum.; DEP; KAB); Junri (Nwp.; DEP); Kadval (Mar.; DEP; KAB); Kafferkorn (Ger.; EFS); Kafferkorn Gras (Dutch; EFS); Kaffir Corn (S. Afr.; KAB); Kangra (Bom.; DEP); Kaoliang (China; DEP; EFS); Karaliringu (Sin.; KAB); Kasajonar (Beng.; KAB); Kayda (Arab.; Egypt; DEP); Kaydi (Arab.; Egypt; KAB); Kiosagi (Afg.; DEP); Koko (Krobo; KAB); Kurbi (Beng.; DEP); Maía de Guinea (Peru; EGG); Maicillo (Cr.; AVP); Mais de Millo (Cr.; AVP); Mais Millo (Col.; AVP); Melca (Cat.; KAB); Miglio Saggina (It.; EFS); Mijo (Sp.; AVP); Mil (Fr.; AVP); Milho (Por.; KAB); Milhozaburro Vermelho (Por.; AVP); Mil-langue (Lan.; KAB); Millo (Cuba; Pr.; Sp.; AVP); Milo (Sp.; EFS); Milocolo (Por.; AVP); Mohammadisa (Makran; KAB); Mohrenbartgras (Ger.; EFS); Mohrhirse (Ger.; AVP; EFS); Moorhirse (Ger.; KAB); Nirgol (Kan.; DEP); Petit Mil (Haiti; AVP); Phag (India; DEP); Pti Mil (Haiti; AVP); Pyoung (Burma; DEP); Quav Ntsuas (Hmong; EB57:365); Saggina (It.; AVP; EFS); Saina (Sp.; KAB); Salu (Mar.; DEP); Serçe Darici (Tur.; EFS); Shalu (Dec.; Mar.; DEP; KAB); Shu Shu (China; KAB); Sorga a Scopa (It.; EFS); Sorghohirse (Ger.; EFS); Sorgo (Cuba; Peru; Por.; Pr.; Rus.; AVP; EFS; EGG; KAB); Sorgo Azucarado (Sp.; EFS); Sorgo Commun (Guad.; AVP); Sorgo Escobero (Peru; EGG); Sorgo Forrejero (Ven.; AVP); Sorghum (Eng.; JAD); Sundia (Guj.; DEP; KAB); Talla (Tel.; DEP); Targhar (Babian Shahrig; KAB); Tella Jonna (Tam.; Tel.; DEP; NAD); Thuthera (Cp.; KAB); Ti Chê (China; EFS); Ti Liang (China; EFS); Triguillo (Sal.; AVP); Varifemba (Betsileo; KAB); Vermelho (Por.; AVP); Zhurna (Sanskrit; DEP); Zura (Arab.; KAB); Nscn.
Anthelmintic (f; WBB); Antiabortive (f; AHL; BIB); Antioxidant (1; JAF51:6657); Aphrodisiac (f; KAB; SKJ); Cyanogenic (1; WOI); Demulcent (f; BIB; EFS; KAB; PH2; SKJ; WOI); Depurative (f; KAB); Diuretic (f; BIB; EFS; KAB; WOI); Emollient (f; BIB; EFS); Orexigenic (f; KAB); Stomachic (f; LMP).
Debility (f; BIB); Dermatosis (f; WBB); Diarrhea (f; JFM; WBB); Dyspepsia (f; PH2); Dysuria (f; BIB; KAB); Eczema (f; WBB); Epilepsy (f; BIB); Flu (f; BIB); Goiter (f; JFM); Hemorrhoid (f; KAB); Malaria (f; WBB); Mastosis (f; WBB); Measles (f; BIB; JFM); Nephrosis (f; BIB; KAB; TOM); Pulmonosis (f; JFM); Stomachache (f; BIB); Swelling (f; WBB); Tuberculosis (f; BIB; WBB); Worm (f; WBB).
Seeds an important cereal in many cultures. Palestinean eat the hyssop (or "Jerusalem corn") a main and nutritious part of their diet. The grains are gathered and ground for meal used in baking coarse bread. A single fruiting head can be large enough to feed a family. Some suggest that the "parched corn" Ruth received from Boaz was sorghum. Pearled grain cooked like rice or ground into flour. Hondurans pop the seeds like popcorn. Parched seed used as coffee substitute. Stalks used as animal feed, and the seed for bird feed. Important for silage or hay. Sorghums with large juicy stems are used in the manufacture of syrup, sugar, or energy alcohol. Hmong report the stems edible, and source of sugar (BIB; EFS; JFM; EB57:365). Decoct 1 Tbsp powdered toasted seed (JFM). Decoct 2 oz seed/qt water for cystosis (FEL).
• American Blacks take the seed decoction for bladder, kidney, and urinary complaints (KAB).
• Arubans poultice heated seeds in oil on backs of pulmonary patients who drink a hot tea of a diaphoretic Pectis (JFM).
• Brazilians drink seed decoction for bronchosis, cough, and other pulmonary complaints (JFM).
• Curacaons drink the leaf tea for measles (JFM).
• Lebanese use sorghum gruel for debility due to lung maladies like tuberculosis (HJP).
• Lebanese use hot sorghum as a poultice (HJP).
• Venezuelans decoct 1 Tbsp seed, with or without lemon, for diarrhea (JFM). Downsides (Broomcorn):
No health hazards or side effects known with proper therapeutic dosages (PH2) (PH2 designates no specific quantified dosage!; JAD.) Cyanide poisoning can occur in grazing animals overgrazing the foliage, especially wilted foliage (WOI). Still, replacing African sorghum with American Zea has generated an epidemic in squamous carcinoma of the esophagus. Fusarium fungi grow freely on maize, producing fumonisins, which reduce nitrates to nitrites and synthesize cancer-producing nitrosamines. Nitro-samines are carcinogens. Fusarium fungi do not thrive on sorghum, sorghum producing two orders of magnitude less fumonisins than maize. The higher incidence of esophageal cancer in black males is ascribed to their greater consumption of traditional beer, which is produced by fermenting maize. Patients with esophageal cancer consume more beer than controls. Countries in Africa, where the staple is still sorghum, have a low incidence of squamous carcinoma of the esophagus (X15617883).
Natural History (Broomcorn):
Major diseases reported on sorghums include Cercospora sorghi, Colletotrichum graminicola (anthracnose of leaves and stems), Helminthosporium turcicum (leaf blight), Macrophomina pha-seoli (charcoal rot), Periconia circinata (milo disease), Phyllachora sorghi, Phyllosticta sorghi, Puccinis purpurea (rust), Ramulispora sorghi (sooty strip), Sclerospora sorghi (downy mildew), Sorosporium ehrenbergii, Sphacelia sorghi, Sphacelotheca sorghi (covered smut), Sph. cruenta (loose smut), and Sph. reiliana (head smut). Plants are also severely attacked by various species of Striga (S. lutea, S. hermontheca, S. senegalensis, S. densiflora). Nematodes isolated from sorghum include the following species: Helicotylenchus cavenessi, H. dihystera, H. pseudorobustus, Hoplo-laimuspararobustus, Meloidogyne javanica, Peltamigratus nigeriensis, Pratylenchus brachyurus, P. zeae, Quinisulcius acutus, Rotylenchulus reniformis, Scutellonema cavenessi, S. clathricauda-tum, Tylenchorhynchus acutus, and T. parvus (HOE).
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